Chatham University has visionary plans to ensure a sustainable future for its 388-acre Eden Hall Farm campus and those plans will start their journey through governmental channels this month.
Chatham's master plan for its Eden Hall Farm campus will be the biggest issue facing Richland Township this year, according to the township's manager, Dean E. Bastianini.
Chatham is scheduled to present its master plan Jan. 24 to the Richland Planning Commission. The master plan will identify Chatham's vision and plans for the campus over the next 20 years, he explained.
"It will have a profound impact on the future of the township," he said, citing multiplier effects for businesses and an impact on the township's infrastructure.
The farm was donated to Chatham in 2008 by the Eden Hall Foundation. Previously it was owned by the late Sebastian Mueller, a vice president at H.J. Heinz Co., who set it up as a retreat for the company's working women.
Already, Chatham President Esther L. Barazzone gave the community a preview of what the university is planning when she appeared Dec. 20 before the Pine-Richland School Board.
The Eden Hall campus will be the home of the university's new School of Sustainability and the Environment, she explained.
Being environmentally conscious is a cornerstone to Chatham's plans, which honors the legacy of its 1929 alumna, environmentalist Rachel Carson.
Plans call for preserving the farm's "iconic" barns, constructing sustainable buildings, preserving open land, producing more energy than they use, and being self-contained for water and sewage treatment.
"Interesting architecture is being done," said Barazzone. "This will be a beautiful place."